Below I share with you my current home office video setup that I use for live streaming and video recording.
Firstly I have a Windows 10 desktop PC that I built in 2015 (and it’s still going strong).
It’s an i7 with 32gb of ram and an Nvidia graphics card. I store the PC in the room next door to my office and feed the cables through the wall.
Despite using a MacBook pro as my day to day development machine. I use Windows as my streaming and recording machine since there is much better software available, particularly for streaming
I store it in a separate room since it generates a great deal of fan noise. The wall is insulated, and so I don’t hear any operational sound, and my microphone doesn’t pick it up at all.
For my microphone, I have a RØDE PodMic Dynamic Podcasting Microphone. RØDE sells many USB versions of this microphone. However, I have a non USB type.
In late 2020 I changed the way I connect my microphone to my PC and bought a Focusrite 4i4 3rd generation USB interface. I now plug my headphones into this device and plug my Microphone into one of the XLR ports on the front. This device replaces the soundcard on my PC so I have disabled the onboard soundcard on my motherboard and use this exclusively. Because it is USB3 the signal has no latency, and it comes with a software configuration system that allows you to route different inputs to your headphones. I thought I would miss the mixer I had before, but frankly, this new item has simplified my setup and gives better sounding results.
Originally, I bought a mixer, there were not a lot of options available, so I opted for a Behringer X1622USB Xenyx 16 Input 2/2 Bus Mixer. It’s silent and has sliders and shows up on the windows PC as a USB mixer. It was a good option however I found that if I left it on for a while I would get static in my headphones and in some audio applications I would get a bit of floor noise. Also, USB2 meant that using it as an input and an output device (which it claims to be able to do) never really worked for me. The drivers for this device for windows 10 are also not great. I think I might use this mixer in the future as an input device that I connect to the Focusrite and I will just use it as an analog mixer.
I connected my mic to my mixer with a XLR female to male cable. I connected my Guitar to input 2, I then have an old iPod that I connected to input 5/6, and would sometimes use this to play music in the background while I live stream.
To connect my Guitar, I use a Fender Professional Series Instrument Cable.
To connect my iPod I use a 3.5mm to 6.3mm Mono Cable from POSUGEAR. This takes the stereo output from the iPod and splits the left and right channels which allows me to plug it into the 5/6 input on my USB Mixer.
I feed audio from my mac and PC into Line In 5/6 and Line In 7/8. I mute the audio on the PC channel and assign it to the ALt 3/4 output rather than the Main mix. This means that I can hear my PC audio when streaming but it dosen’t playout to the Streaming software via the main mix.
Initially I was getting an annoying hum with my PC and Mac audio, however, I fixed it using some groud loop isolaters.
I mounted my microphone using a Neewer Adjustable Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm Stand.
It attaches to a floating shelf that I bought from IKEA. This was a good solution, but I found that after about 6th months, my very heavy mic would sometimes drrop.
In early 2020 I bought an RØDE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm. It is considerably more expensive, but it is better than the previous arm. |I mount this to my desk using the supplied fittings. I’m not sure if it is worth the extra money, but I am pleased with it. I have kept the previous arm and now use it to mount a secondary cheap USB webcam for an additional overhead shot.
I found I was getting quite echoey audio in my room, so I bought 24x AFW305 Pro Acoustic Foam Wedge Tiles. I attached two to the ceiling directly above the microphone and then some in front and to the side of the microphone using some spray adhesive. They solved the issue and now I’m really happy with the way the audio sounds.
I don’t have much room for a 3 point lighting system in my office. So I opted for a ring light by Newwer.
I have modified this slightly and attached it to a mount using the tripod clamp below; I also bought a second clamp to affix the camera. What is nice about this setup is that I can adjust the camera position depending on if I want to film seated or standing. I purchased some other clamps originally, but they were made of plastic and didn’t last longer than a few weeks, the joint gave way under the pressure. These metal ones are far more sturdy and have been fixed in place for around 9 months without failing.
I attach these clamps to a pole. Ideally, I was looking for a photography mount. However, I couldn’t find what I wanted, and so I bought a wardrobe pole and two end brackets and affixed them to my wall.
Initially, I found that the Ring light would droop due to its weight. So I went out and bought a center ring. I attached this to the top of the ring light at the top/back and then hooked this over the wardrobe pole. The ring light now stays perfectly upright.
I also bout an additional Elgato Key Light, you operate the light over the network using either some software on your PC, a phone app, also you can control it using the stream deck that I have. Whilst its nice to be able to control it remotely, it can be frustrating that I can’t just turn it on with a switch on the device. It’s a good light, but in terms of performance, I think my far cheaper ring light is much better value for money and provides a better more powerful light.
To add a little interest in the back of the shot, I have an Elgato Light Strip.
The camera I use is a Sony A6000.
It works well, but I sometimes wonder if it would be simpler to just get a good USB webcam.
I have a converter that plugs into the battery pack of the Sony that means the camera never runs out of battery. I found that occasionally this power pack didn’t provide enough power and my cameras connection would be flaky, I replaced the power cord with one I had in my office and now it works flawlessly.
I plug a Micro HDMI > HDMI cable from my camera into a USB 3 video capture device.
I use a Magewell capture device to convert the HDMI input into a USB webcam. The camera then shows up as a Webcam on my PC. This is an expensive capture device, I only have it since my company had already bought some. Elgato capture devices seem to do a similar job but are far less expensive.
I have a second Magewell device that I use to capture a feed from my MacBook. I have a single USB-C cable that plugs into my MacBook and attaches to an HP Dock. One of the HDMI outputs goes into the Magewell capture device.
Finally, to stitch all of my different devices together, I use a piece of software called XSplit. XSplit can record to disk or stream to places like Twitch or YouTube. It can even work as a webcam output that I can use in Chime, Skype, or whereby.com.
I pay a monthly subscription for it. I have set up three scenes.
- My Main Camera,
- my MacBook Screen and
- a Picture-in-picture of my camera and my MacBook screen.
To switch scenes, I use a Stream Deck that gives me a physical button to control the active scene and perform transitions.
I have a small comfort monitor that I use to either put my slides on when I present or if I am on a video call I but the other attendees videos here so I can look at them whilst looking down the camera. This works surprisingly well, the effect is that it appears I am looking directly down the lens when I am looking at the monitor.
I buy all of my stock photos, videos, and video transition packages from VideoHive.
I buy my royalty-free music from Audio Jungle.
If you have any questions please reach out on Twitter. I’d be happy to answer any questions.